In the summer of 1942, Texans Neil and Carl Fletcher stumbled upon one of the greatest inventions of our modern age: the corn dog. Oh, I know what you're thinking--what about the personal computer, the Internet? What about the microwave, the remote control, Target's Swell line? Fine inventions, all. And yet they pale in comparison to the simplicity--nay, the elegance--of a breaded hot dog on a stick. Consider the corn dog, so full of contradictions: soft yet firm, salty yet sweet, heavy yet portable. It may indeed be the perfect food. At the very least, it is the perfect food after a long night of binge drinking. Such a mighty foodstuff deserves a mighty celebration, and the 10th annual Corndog Festival is just that. Held this Saturday at the Lakewood Theater, the festival is best remembered for the corn dog styling competition, with such categories as Celebrity Look-a-Like and Best Movie Adaptation. But the evening--called The Corn Ball--is so much more: a silent auction, live music, Al Roker! And with tap-dancing wieners and enough free carnival food to feed a fleet of drunken fraternities, it has elegance--just like ye olde corn dog. Tickets are $20. Visit www.corndogfestival.com. --Sarah Hepola
Goethe at the Movies
If the eyes are the window to the soul, then Klaus Kinski was as intense, insane and brilliant as he always claimed he was. The late artist was an A-plus actor who starred primarily in Z-grade western and sci-fi films, but regardless of the quality of his surroundings, Kinski and his piercing peepers always made for compelling viewing. Kinski turned down the likes of Spielberg and Fellini in favor of bigger paychecks and managed to steal For a Few Dollars More and Doctor Zhivago in glorified cameos, but he'll always be rightly linked with oddball director Werner Herzog, with whom he created a portrait of megalomania (Aguirre, The Wrath of God), a moving force of will (Fitzcarraldo), a masterful remake (Nosferatu) and a meditation on the corrosion of relationships and sanity (Woyzeck). It's Woyzeck you'll see at 4 p.m. Sunday with Kinski portraying Georg Buchner's titular character, a private in the German military and a paranoid husband of Marie (Eva Mattes). Woyzeck's warped sense of fate carries him through cruel military procedures and drives him to an act of backward morality. Admission is free. The Dallas Goethe Center presents Woyzeck in the Lynch Auditorium at the University of Dallas, 1845 E. Northgate Drive, Irving. Call 214-352-4646. --Matt Hursh
Get Filked Up
Till yesterday I had no idea what "filking" was, but I would have guessed it was freaky sex; doesn't it just sound icky? Maybe you'll still think so: According tosci-fi author Julia West, filking is folk-singing "about space, about characters in science fiction and fantasy novels and movies, about computers, about fandom." Apparently this is hot stuff; there are even famous practitioners, such as Michael Longcor, who leads a hootenanny September 24 through September 26 at FenCon at the Holiday Inn Select, 2645 LBJ Freeway, along with sci-fi writers and the people willing to pay $20 to hang and filk around. --Robert Wilonsky
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Rock the Bus
Democracy rocks! Well, sort of, since Rock the Vote's 50-city bus tour has only managed to persuade a who's-that? lineup of Ben Jelen, Dan Dyer, Future Leaders of the World, Tyler Hilton and Wylde Bunch to perform. A better idea: a faceoff between MP3s of John Kerry's high school band, The Electras, and the cover of U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" cobbled together using soundbites from George W. Bush's speeches. It visits the University of Texas at Arlington on Thursday and Texas Woman's University on Friday. See www.rockthevote.com. --Zac Crain
Grin and Fair It
It's been more than two decades since the State Fair of Texas' tragic midway accidents of 1979 and 1983, but you still can't talk about the fair without somebody claiming he was "on the gondola just a few hours before the cable snapped" or was in "that exact same car that derailed right before all those people were horribly killed." These near-death experiences are about as believable as the fair organizers' promise of "Good Food, Great Fun!"--this year's theme. We'll concede there is some appeal to the deep-fried lard of funnel cakes and corn dogs but still wouldn't deem to call it "good." Considering the highlights of last year's fair were traffic jams, jacked-up parking prices and lots of out-of-towners aimlessly wandering around the illustrious Fair Park neighborhood, the fair hardly qualifies as "fun" either, more like headache-inducing. But the agony may be tolerable on the days when some big-name music act headlines the Chevrolet Main Stage, including Tracy Lawrence on Saturday, Keith Sweat on October 2, Brad Paisley on October 9, Los Lonely Boys on October 10 and Uncle Kracker on October 16. Patrons of Exposition Park shops and bars should probably be advised to avoid the area for the next three weeks and save up for the Meridian Room and Bar of Soap's end-of-the-fair celebrations, which are always "good" and undeniably "fun." The State Fair of Texas opens Friday and runs through October 17 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Admission is $12, $8 for kids under 48 inches and seniors, and free for children 2 and under. Parking is $8. Call 214-565-9931 or visit www.bigtex.com. --Jay Webb